New PokerStars Security Features Comprises Privacy Players Claim

Posted on January 20th, 2016 by Jon Pineda

PokerStars security data privacy video recording

PokerStars wants to make sure certain players are calculating their own moves and not using software programs to help navigate the competition. (Image: pokerstars.com)

PokerStars is the biggest poker network in the world, and now the Amaya-owned property is reportedly interested in becoming a “big brother” to your online poker habits.

According to a recent post by Nick Frame on the Two Plus Two boards, PokerStars is randomly ordering players to record their activities and upload the footage to the company via email or file sharing service such as Dropbox and Google Drive.

Frame posted the request on behalf of several friends who directly received the demand.

PokerStars mandates numerous conditions for the video including the user being forced to rotate the camera 360 degrees to clearly display his or her locale. The session must be at least 70 minutes in length and “must capture your surrounding environment including your monitor, keyboard, mouse and the movement of your hands.”

PokerStars and its parent company Amaya are staying quiet on the alleged security steps to ensure compliance with its own new game fairness provisions and terms and conditions. PokerStars announced last fall that it was undergoing sweeping changes to restrict the use of third-party software in order to protect the fish from the sharks.

PokerStars is slated to return to the US online gaming market through New Jersey in the coming months.

Players Sound Off

Amaya has recently learned how against, and perhaps emotional, PokerStars players are when it comes to change. A meeting was held this week at the company’s Montreal headquarters between disgruntled poker pros and Amaya executives to discuss the changes made to the VIP Supernova Elite rewards tier.

Dani Stern was one of those in attendance after the pro recently orchestrated two boycotts of the network, though largely thought to be unsuccessful. Poker legend and PokerStars ambassador Daniel Negreanu was also on-hand to presumably moderate between the players and suits.

Now the online gaming conglomerate is causing more ruffled feathers with its invasive approach to gameplay monitoring.

Reactions on the Two Plus Two forum varied:

“So they expect you to just buy a … camera? I mean my phone isn’t good enough quality for that. Are they shipping you the money required for the camera?” -Dr.FatCat

“This … is basically a giant finger from Amaya to winning players. ‘Hey, we think you might cheat, so here are a ton of hoops to jump through.'” -kaby

“The point is they need to make sure it’s humans playing… You can either have privacy or secure real money poker, but not both.” -letzplayHU

iPokerBot

Publically traded on the New York Stock Exchange and responsible to its shareholders, Amaya is understandably motivated to clean up any potential risks and adverse conditions on PokerStars, the online enterprise it paid $4.9 billion for in 2014.

Its arrival in New Jersey will only increase scrutiny by legal regulators.

Poker bots are computer programs designed to compete against human players online. They are of utmost concern to PokerStars and are likely the main reason the network is requesting video footage from certain players.

According to PocketFives, Fame’s amassed $20,671 in cashes on PokerStars under the moniker “TCfromUB.” He claims he has nothing to hide, but doesn’t believe the investigative process is proper.

“I think it’s going too far as an invasion of privacy,” Fame concluded.

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